Big Cleanup Latvia initiative
The idea of the Big Cleanup Latvia project is based on voluntary participation to keep our environment tidy, bring people together and promote positivism and satisfaction with the achievements. The Big Cleanup Day takes place every spring simultaneously all across Latvia.
The idea of the Big Cleanup Latvia belongs to the writer Anna Žīgure. The overall target of this initiative is to bring up Latvia as the cleanest country in the world by its 100 year anniversary in 2018. It will be done by making Latvian nature garbage-free, allowing it to recover and urging people to take care of their environment. This and similar initiatives are of great importance in Latvia due to the high share of garbage left and buried in the nature.
The Big Cleanup Day tradition in Latvia started on September 13, 2008 and was intended as a preparation for the 90th Anniversary of Latvia. Since then three more Big Clean-ups followed. In 2011 there were 1337 official clean-up sites and more than 190 thousand enthusiasts participating. The number of participants increase year by year.
The Big Cleanup Day all over Latvia is organized by local coordinators who register their clean-up locations on the official map on www.talkas.lv. In addition local municipalities, educational establishments, companies and groups of volunteers organize their own collective clean-ups appointing and registering their group leaders. The Patron of the Big Cleanup is the President of Latvia.
Barriers and Drivers
As this voluntary iniative, there are more drivers than barriers. The main drivers are the availability of the information about the event in media, internet, local municipalities and shops; tools for work like garbage sacks etc. and the good environment. Also the reward for the most active clean-up sites promote participants of municipalities to participate to gain a good attention.
There are mostly technical barriers that are related with organisational issues. For example, in 2011 Clean-up due to unexpected interest there was lack of garbage bags. But these are minor barriers.
Big Cleanup Latvia is a non profit initiative. All expenditures related to the preparation and the event are partly financed by the state budget and private sponsors.
- better environment for everyone
- improved infrastructure like yards and other public places
- wide educational programme to inform society on negative aspects and risks of environmental pollution.
- increasing number of volunteers taking part in Big Cleanup initiative every year.
Hundreds of thousands of garbage sacks collected from forests, parks, recreation places and courtyards all over Latvia, along with site improvement and tree planting.
In 2011 more than 2 740 tons of various garbage were collected and transported to landfills for disposal. In comparison with 2010, the amount of garbage in the forests and other places decreases. In 2010 around 3 500 were collected.
Picture source: Lielā talka ©, 2010